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GALLERIES > MAMMALS > NEW ZEALAND FUR SEAL [Arctocephalus forsteri]


New Zealand Fur Seal Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Kaikoura (Pelagic), South New Zealand
GPS: -42.5S, 173.7E, depth=-701' MAP
Date: April 23, 2017
ID : 7C2V8242 [3888 x 2592]

nature photography

New Zealand Fur Seal Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Kaikoura (Pelagic), South New Zealand
GPS: -42.5S, 173.7E, depth=-701' MAP
Date: April 23, 2017
ID : 7C2V8239 [3888 x 2592]

nature photography

New Zealand Fur Seal Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Kaikoura (Pelagic), South New Zealand
GPS: -42.5S, 173.7E, depth=-701' MAP
Date: April 23, 2017
ID : 7C2V8290 [3888 x 2592]

bird photography

New Zealand Fur Seal Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Milford Sound, South New Zealand
GPS: -44.6S, 167.8E, elev=0' MAP
Date: April 18, 2017
ID : B13K3810 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

New Zealand Fur Seal Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Milford Sound, South New Zealand
GPS: -44.6S, 167.8E, elev=0' MAP
Date: April 18, 2017
ID : B13K3795 [4896 x 3264]

bird photography

New Zealand Fur Seal Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Kaikoura (Pelagic), South New Zealand
GPS: -42.5S, 173.7E, depth=-701' MAP
Date: April 23, 2017
ID : 7C2V8300 [3888 x 2592]

nature photography

New Zealand Fur Seal Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Milford Sound, South New Zealand
GPS: -44.6S, 167.8E, elev=0' MAP
Date: April 18, 2017
ID : B13K3812 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

SPECIES INFO

Arctocephalus forsteri, the New Zealand fur seal, southern fur seal or long-nosed fur seal, is a species of fur seal found around the south coast of Australia, the coast of the South Island of New Zealand, and some of the small islands to the south and east of there. Male-only colonies are also located on the Cook Strait coast of the North Island near Wellington and vagrants are found as far north as New Caledonia.[citation needed] The name New Zealand fur seal is used by English speakers in New Zealand (kekeno is used in the M?ori language), and southern fur seal by speakers in Australia.[citation needed] As of 2014, the common name long-nosed fur seal has been proposed for exclusive use within Australia. Although the two populations show some genetic differences, their morphologies are very similar, and thus they remain classed as a single species.

Although the seals look docile, they can move surprisingly quickly and it is advisable never to approach a female with young or get between a seal and the water, cutting off its escape route to the sea.

Physical characteristics
Males have been reported as large as 250 kg; their average weight is about 126 kg. Males can be 2 meters long. Females are between 30?50 kg on average, and can be as long as 1.5 meters. Pups are 3.3?3.9 kg on average, and between 40 and 55 cm long. At 290 days old males are about 14.1 kg, and females are about 12.6 kg. They have external ears and hind flippers that rotate forward, which visibly distinguish them from other seals. They have a pointy nose with long pale whiskers. The fur seals are covered by two layers of fur. The coat is grey-brown on their back, and lighter on their belly. Some have white tips on longer upper hairs, which can give them a silver-like appearance.

So called "Upland Seals" once found on Antipodes Islands and Macquarie Island have been claimed as a distinct subspecies with thicker furs by scientists although it is unclear whether these seals were genetically distinct.
Behavioral characteristics
Diving
New Zealand fur seals "porpoise" out of the water when traveling quickly at sea. They can dive deeper and longer than any other fur seal. Females can dive for about 9 minutes and to a depth of about 312 meters, and can dive deeper and longer in autumn and winter. Males can dive for about 15 minutes to a depth of about 380 meters. On average New Zealand fur seals only dive for 1?2 minutes. When they dive for food they dive deeper during the day but shallower at night, because during the day their prey typically migrates to deeper depths and migrates back up during the night.

Communication
Males vocalize through a bark or whimper, either a gluttural threat, a low-intensity threat, a full threat, or a submissive call. Females growl and also have a high-pitched pup attraction wail call.

Breeding
Female New Zealand fur seals mature between 4 and 6 years old, and males mature between 8 and 10 years old. These seals are polygynous. Males obtain and guard territory in late October before females arrive. Often females only mate once a year, and this usually occurs eight days postpartum for about 13 minutes on average. Females have a delayed implantation of the fertilized egg, so that implantation on the uterine wall does not occur for 3 months. Gestation occurs for 9 months Females are more aggressive near the time of birth, and do not like to be approached right after birth. Female New Zealand fur seals will continue to reproduce until their death which is on average between 14 and 17 years of age.

Parenting
Pups are born between November and January. Females stay close to the birth site for up to ten days. Pups are fairly mature at birth, and within 60 minutes they start suckling for about 7 minutes. Eventually the suckling can exceed 33 minutes. Suckling can occur for about 300 days. Pups start to eat solid food just before weaning. Pups are eventually weaned around September, and they disperse.

Diet
Their diet includes cephalopods, fish, and birds. Stomach contents have been analyzed and shown to include anchovy, barracuda, flounder, hagfish, lamprey, red cod, school shark, and many other species. There are different factors that affect their diet, such as season, sex, breeding, surrounding colony, oceanography, and climatic patterns.

Predators
New Zealand fur seals? known predators are killer whales, sharks, male New Zealand sea lions, and possibly leopard seals. New Zealand sea lions are also known to target pups as their prey.

Human impact

Notice informing the public, Napier, New Zealand
Seals were widely hunted from shortly after the European discovery of New Zealand until the late 19th century. The population in New Zealand dropped to under 10% of the original population. Today commercial fisheries are one of the main sources of death of New Zealand fur seals usually by entanglement and drowning. It has been estimated by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society that over 10000 seals could have drowned in nets between 1989 and 1998. They are also known to have been shot by commercial and recreational fishermen, because they are assumed to interfere with fishing gear. How often these shootings occur is unknown, but pressure groups have stated that the conflict between the seals and commercial fisheries is expected to increase. On August 21 2014, two decomposing animals were found beheaded near Louth Bay in South Australia. The circumstances of their deaths were considered suspicious and an investigation followed their discovery. In 2015, several conservative members of Parliament encouraged public debate around the potential implementation of seal culling in South Australia in response to increasing interactions with South Australian commercial fisheries. As of July 2015, the killing of long-nosed fur seals remains an illegal act.

New Zealand
In New Zealand, the species is protected by the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, which works to conserve marine animal species.


                                     



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